Police were called to an apartment complex in Le Grand, California on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 for a welfare check.
Inside, they found the bodies of Anna Ortiz Lara, 8, Matteo Ortiz Lara, 5, and 3-year-old Alexa Ortiz Lara. Their mother Patricia Ortiz (30) was found alive with self-inflicted injuries and was taken to hospital. She is expected to survive.
“She’s been cooperative, she’s spoken with the detectives. I don’t know what the extent of those conversations is, but she has spoken to them,” said Deputy Allen of the Merced County Sheriff’s Office.
Patricia is expected to be booked into the Merced County Jail for three counts of murder.
It is believed that the children’s father was the one to discover the bodies and he was heard screaming at the scene.
A long-time family friend spoke to the media about the children and said that Anna, the oldest, was extremely kind and sang at church. Alexa, the youngest, was joyful with a beaming smile. Matteo, the only boy, was protective of his sisters and loved to run around and play.
The children attended Le Grand Elementary. The school released the following statement Thursday:
“The Merced County Sheriff’s Office notified Le Grand Elementary School District officials yesterday afternoon that several students were involved in a tragic situation off-campus. Sadly, those students have passed away. Our school community is heartbroken by this tragedy, and we grieve for this enormous loss. The details of the situation are still unfolding, but whatever they are, this event is very traumatic for our children, staff, and families. It is heartbreaking to lose a student under any circumstance. We have grief counselors on campus to support students, staff, and parents as needed. Le Grand is a strong and resilient community, and we will work together to process this tragedy.”